Now that we know exactly where we are on Moss Rake, we have yet to find any documented info for Hall's Old Grove Mine except for a small snippet mentioning the mine and its location, only to confirm not much is known...
Luke Cafferty, Rob Eavis and I (Team Awesome) met at the usual parking spot and were descending the mine for 7:15pm. We made quick progress with Rob giving Luke a heads-up regarding the situation so far. I got to the start of the traverse which required bolting and waited for the others to catch up. Luke and Rob continued with the survey across the pitch head where I was to be loaded up with lots of bolting equipment, anyone would think I was bolting up Titan there was that much! I placed a bolt at the start and anchored the rope ready to progress over the large hole which had now opened up beneath my feet. Progress was fairly easy and after a couple more bolts I was soon within metres of the top most pile of stacked deads Rob and I had been looking up to on the last trip. From the last bolt I pulled a few metres of rope through my stop and made the sketchy last bridge beyond the void to safety.
Rob traversing back
Now that I was on firm ground I crawled under the low roof and found myself in a continuation of the level - hurrah! Also the draught was howling through behind me - double hurrah! The boulder floor sloped down to a very small shaft quickly followed by a larger shaft passing underneath a really dodgy looking false floor. I could clearly see the level continuing at the bottom which must lay beyond our previous westerly limit from last week. The other side of the false floor another hole dropped to the same level although this hole was blocked by stemples. The level at this height soon ended.
Rob and Luke joined me continuing with the survey. Our excitement was growing, we quickly placed another bolt above the dodgy hole whilst Rob confirmed that the first tiny shaft was probably the mines shitter! I abseiled enough so my body was level with all the dodgy false floor and gardened what I could to make it look safe and continued the abseil. The rope was definitely going to rub so Rob passed down the drill and I placed another bolt underneath the false floor to rebelay the rope which avoided dislodging the world above. I descended to the floor, shouted, "ROPE FREE" and quickly got out of the way by descending a short climb. It was here where I noticed the echo from in front of me.
what lay in front of me was a large rift chamber 50m long, quite similar to that of West Chamber in Oxlow Caverns but not on the same scale. A short rubble slope dropped down to another shaft in the floor. This was completely ignored for the large black space straight ahead. A large stacked ledge appeared in front but would be a short climb to reach. Above my head was a large tree trunk sized stemple across the level and a few T'owd Man tools in a bad state of decay were scattered on the platform I was now standing on. Rob soon joined me and asked if I had noticed the passage heading north midway down the pitch!? I had completely missed a stooping sized backfilled bedding passage heading off without even a glance...
Rob below The Stemple
Luke soon joined us now on Disto duty and we progressed forward down another short climb without dislodging any loose rock and continued underneath the Large stacked ledge above. Here a few buckets and tool remains lay to one side and the floor seems to close up just below where the chamber is at its widest, at over 3m wide. Progressing forward leads to the main part of the chamber where a large, near vertical mud and boulder slope leads up to the chamber wall. Looking up at this point the with a high beam further climbing shafts can be spotted in the roof which is lined with stemples from what we could make out, at over 25m high. We were in awe, this was turning into a pretty awesome trip for Team Awesome!
Rob and Luke in the middle of the chamber
At this point we were in serious breach of missing the pub, so after Rob and Luke had completed the survey of the chamber I had a quick climb up the loose slope to a point of stupidity and after a telling off we returned to the start of the chamber ready for one last look before we made our exit. We had a quick glance at the climber i the floor and started to ascend the dodgy pitch. Rob checked out the bedding passage I had missed on the way down which continued around a corner to a premature end. Once we were all safe at the top of the pitch Rob made a fantastic effort of gardening the pitch head ready for the next trip, only having a few "nearly" moments which proved to be very exciting viewing.
We arrived back on surface at 11pm and missed the pub. Definitely worth it though.